Performance Anxiety

male sexual problems

Man and Woman HuggingYou've been dating her for a while now and tonight may be that special night when you finally get to do your sexual dance between the sheets. You want to make it special, you want her to feel the ultimate in satisfaction.

Suddenly, all these paranoid thoughts come to mind. What if she thinks I'm too small? What if I don't last long enough? What if she doesn't orgasm? Then before you know it, things go completely awry.

It's the first time you're going to be with her and yet your mini-me, who so affectionately participates fully when your hand comes to visit, simply won't participate when the little Miss is present. You can't believe this is happening. You feel flustered, confused and inadequate.

And thus begins the vicious cycle, a self-fulfilling prophecy if you will, because this one time leads to other discouraging thoughts: Oh my God, what's wrong with me? Is it going to keep happening? I really am a horrible lover; Stop it, NOW!

what's happening here

Performance anxiety is a very common sexual problem in which men (and yes, even women) acquire brutal anxiety when it comes time to engage in sexual activity. What ultimately happens is that you become so fully engrossed in the fear of the inability to perform sexually, that it ends up overtaking what should've been the spontaneous flow of sexual feelings.

The fear of not being able to perform sexually can affect guys in a variety of ways.

  • They tend to avoid sexual encounters
  • They can develop low self-esteem
  • The relationship may deteriorate
  • It can lead to sexual dysfunction

But you know what? That's not the way things have to be. The mind is a very powerful tool and today you're going to learn how to use it to not only maintain an erection, but be the lover that your woman always knew you could be.


take a look inside

There are a multitude of reasons why this could be happening to you. So take a few steps back and look for what could be causing such intense anxiety. Guys are usually quick to point out that they aren't feeling stress in any way, but if you'd take a minute and really think about it, there is something at the root of this particular problem -- find it.

Stress can stem from anywhere: your family is getting on your nerves, you're about to embark on your first time with a woman you've been after for years, your boss is the equivalent of an insecure tyrant, your company is downsizing, finals are creeping up on you... you get the general idea.

The fact that these things are weighing heavily on your mind is deterring you from delving into your sexual experience with no holds barred. And once you're able to leave all the muck on the outside and let the bedroom be your sexual sanctuary, you will finally overcome your performance anxiety.

Keep in mind that performance anxiety can escalate, since the first incident ends up making you feel like it'll happen again and keep happening.

Performance anxiety can end up having very real physical consequences. When anyone becomes anxious, their body releases chemical intermediaries (catecholamines -- biologically active compounds that serve a variety of functions. Dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline are catecholamines) into the blood stream, which triggers the involuntary "fright or flight" response.

Ultimately, blood vessels end up causing the less vital areas on your body (like your little buddy, for instance) to constrict, so that the blood flow to areas crucial to immediate survival (the heart, lungs and skeletal muscles) keep adequate stability.

All this professional talk is just to let you know that this is a normal reflex that maximizes the ability to fight or run to protect your life. The problem is that it's happening at a time when it's not needed, like, say, when you're trying to get it on with Mrs. Robinson.

the power of positivity

Take the pressure off of yourself; remember it takes two to tango. Don't rush into having sex, rather take the time to appreciate the woman that you have before your eyes. She's yours for the taking and if you would simply focus all of your attention on her, you're nervousness would slowly dissipate.

How can you turn performance anxiety into performance variety?

Keep in mind that performance anxiety affects almost everyone, from the beginner to the most seasoned professional; you're not a freak and you're definitely not alone. Keep telling yourself that you are the man; always stay positive and know that you have complete control over your body. Enforce that control.

As well, communicate with your significant other, or better yet, spend the evening talking about all the dirty deeds you imagine doing to one another. It'll take your mind off your temporary drawback, and may even encourage the sleeping giant to awaken and take his woman, and make love with her like never before.

The power of positive thinking can help you accomplish anything, and if you believe that you will have great sex, you will. And believe it or not, after the first time you overcome this performance anxiety, you will have the confidence to turn your self-fulfilling prophecy into something positive.

With patience, a clear mind, and a comfortable relationship with a great woman, you'll be able to free yourself of this vicious cycle and engage in that kick-butt sex you always knew you were destined for.


Treatment for Fear of Sex in Men

The first step in treatment of performance anxiety is to try to understand the fear and why you have it. fears like these do not arise for no reason, and talking to a therapist would help you in this stage. There are three main strands to treatment of fear of sex.

  1. Understand what the fear is about and why it is there.
  2. Gradual exposure to the sources of the fear during therapy and homework exercises, possibly Sex Therapy, which is the most effective treatment.
  3. Use of medication to help reduce the sensations of fear.

You are likely to need the help of a therapist with this problem. It is not uncommon, and can be overcome if you keep going and recognise that there is nothing wrong with you. You just have an irrational response to sex. You have that response for very good reasons, and can change it if you wish. The really great thing about sexual response is that is can be changed.

next: Women's Sex Problems

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 1). Performance Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Last Updated: April 9, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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